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Today he wasn't surprised
how the man in the mirror had aged —
as if his image had stopped
waiting for him to catch up;
it seemed important.

He took care of things,
walked down the beach to the waves,
flat and friendly, gossiping
over a run-out tide.
He took a last look back
saw his footprints in sand —
the sides of his impressions
trickled and collapsed
but he could still see
that he'd been there.

He went home
turned on the gas
it lit first time
he put on the kettle
made tea or coffee
checked the classifieds
for another budgie.

      — John Bird